Ten years ago, my 40th birthday came and went. There was a party, some cake, a number of gag gifts, and apparently, low testosterone. Of course, I had no idea that low testosterone was a part of the deal. However, of the coming years, I certainly learned the hard way how sneaky and painful low testosterone can be on what was at one time, a normal life.
The worst part, of course, was that I didn’t have any idea that I was suffering from low testosterone. Instead, I just accepted this standard concept that I was “old.” With age, comes fatigue, muscle atrophy, and a lower sex drive. At least, that’s what I thought.
What is Low Testosterone?
Testosterone is a hormone that contributes to a slew of beneficial activities in the male body. It is most commonly produced in the testicles of men, but women do produce some on a small scale. Without the production of testosterone, a man would be unable to create much-needed semen. Additionally, testosterone contributes to healthy muscle mass in the male body.
So it stands to reason that when testosterone is low, it contributes to a number of negative consequences. The threshold for low testosterone is sub-300 nanograms per deciliter. That probably doesn’t mean a whole lot to you right now, but essentially, that’s how your doctor can test you and determine if you have low testosterone.
I got caught in the low-T trap. I had all the symptoms, but I merely accepted them all as a normal part of aging. I wasted ten years of my life feeling crumby. All I ever had to do (at least in my personal case) was to get a proper diagnosis and take a solid low testosterone supplement. But I did neither and opted instead to just accept it all as destiny and fate.
The worst thing you can do is to do nothing, because not only is low testosterone something which can be resolved naturally, but these symptoms can also be attributed to a number of other health issues. It isn’t normal to be mid-40s and feel awful. It isn’t something you accept as normal.
Low Testosterone Symptoms
Low testosterone symptoms can be a tricky diagnosis. This is why it took me so darn long to figure out what I was suffering from. Let’s face it, most of these can be attributed to the consequences of aging. Many of them could be indicators of other health issues, which is why a proper medical diagnosis is essential.
I had every one of these low testosterone symptoms.
My Sex Drive Vanished
It almost feels as though you just “aren’t that into sex” anymore. This is possibly the worst of the symptoms, next to fatigue (more on that below) because it takes a devastating toll on your relationship. It caused my wife and me to argue and fight and ignore and all the bad things that make life at home a true living hell.
For me, I willfully accepted this symptom as a normal part of the aging process. I was, of course, now an over 40 man who had succumbed to an apparent result of aging.
My Erection Strength Was 50%
This means that even when you try to have a sexual encounter, you can’t completely perform. I wasn’t sure if this was more a result of having a decreased sex drive or a full on issue of its own. Either way, it was a frustrating and frightening problem to say the least.
I Lost Hair
Of course, losing your hair as you age seems normal and it seems like a typical right of passage, but it isn’t always. My post-40 hair loss was substantial and pronounced. I think that we can all live with a receding hairline, but not when that receding hairline is the product of decreased health. That’s the big difference.
I Had No Energy
I was tired all the time. When I’d awake in the morning, I feel a bit light headed. After loads of coffee, I’d have a two-hour stretch from 9 AM to 11 AM that was decent energy (enough to at least get some work accomplished). I liked to call it “functioning fatigue.” I’d get things done, but it was hard as heck and very laborious in doing so.
The low energy aspect of things also created an environment of dwindled concentration. I literally felt like I had suddenly come down with a bad case of ADD. I couldn’t focus on any task, or even read a paragraph, without looking away from the screen. Tasks that should have taken 10 minutes were suddenly taking an hour’s worth of time.
I Got Fat
And it was all in the belly. Suddenly, I went from being thin and having even a resemblance of a six-pack to carrying around a mid-section storage unit. No matter how I ate, my gut stayed fat. I ate no carbs, vegan, xis meals per day, one meal per day, low calories, high calories, paleo, south beach, … you name it, I tried it. Nothing moved the needle. It all ended up costing me a lot of money, time, and precious energy. I was constantly stressed over how to eat.
But I was fighting a battle that I wasn’t going to win. For lack of a better metaphor, I had brought a knife to a gun fight.
Worse more, I was losing muscle. I would work out, but it felt like I couldn’t create any muscle density to help burn the fat or, need I say, cover it up.
Can Low Testosterone Be Resolved? What Did I Do?
Once I got the diagnosis, a number of things happened. Some bad, but it all ultimately led me to resolve the matter and live the life I deserve.
I Got a Low-T Test
The doctor situation played out over the course of two years. I first began going to the doctor over my erection issues, hoping to save my marriage. I went because I felt fat. I went because I was always tired. I went constantly over micro-issues. I was given lots of prescriptions. Nothing worked. However, I finally read some stuff online regarding low testosterone symptoms and it really struck me that it could explain everything.
I took control over my doctor visit the following week and got a test. Sure enough, my testosterone wasn’t just low, it was completely in the dumps.
I Went On Low-T Meds
I went on a drug called Androgel. At first, I was pretty excited by the notion that I could easily resolve this matter. But later, the wind was removed from my sails when I discovered that I low testosterone prescription drug side effects were a part of the process. To be clear, I never even read the label. My doctor never informed me of the possibility. I never Googled.
My sex drive would flourish some days and some days it would die off. It never felt much like a healthy sex drive. I got rashes wherever I placed the patch. I found acne on my chin and chest. I sometimes was more fatigued than prior to taking it. My sleep was terrible. I had nighmares when I did sleep.
I became incredibly short tempered and angry all the time. It made my worklife and marriage both awful. I would get mad at the slightest of things. I was irrational. It was an awful way to feel.
Realizing that a prescription drug wasn’t in the cards for me was honestly incredibly depressing. I’d placed all my hope in a simple fix.
I Tried Natural Low Testosterone Supplements
After Googling low testosterone for hours and days and weeks, I finally picked up some TestoTEK. TestoTEK reviews were great. I was natural and supposedly without side effects.
Within a month’s time, I began to notice that my low-T symptoms were getting better. But I also did a lot more than just take a supplement.
I Worked Out
I started lifting. Prior to getting my low testosterone degree on Google (I’m kidding, of course, kind of…), I thought working out meant riding a stationary bike for an hour a day. Turns out, that might have been making things worse. There are numerous studies that show testosterone production is stimulated more by high intensity, shorter duration workouts. For example, lifting weights is great. Here’s a great study that shows the effects of resistance training and increased testosterone production.
I Ate Better
I learned that I needed to eat healthily and eat enough. Super low carb diets and super calorie-restricted diets, in the end, I firmly believe hurt my testosterone production. I began to eat more healthy fats, lots of fiber, and completely avoid processed foods. One thing I learned was that eating healthy was easier than I thought. I wasn’t thinking about how many calories a chicken breast of lima beans had, rather, I was just eating until I felt satisfied.
Between the TestoTEK, a healthy diet, and the weightlifting regimen, my testosterone climbed back up to healthy levels. I felt better, my sex drive came back, and I lost some weight. No, I’m not walking around shirtless with six pack abs at the beach, but I’m also not ashamed of my body anymore. I look a heck of a lot better. But more importantly, I feel better and my marriage is sane again. Additionally, I incredibly focused and productive again.